Five months after pulling the plug on its plan to develop a resort casino in the rural western Massachusetts town of Brimfield, MGM Resorts International, the Las Vegas-based gaming giant, is set to unveil a casino project for Springfield, the Bay State's third-largest city.
MGM executives, including Jim Murren, chairman and chief executive officer, are expected to provide details and renderings of MGM's proposed entertainment complex at an event late this morning at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.
The plan is one of as many as four Springfield proposals that would compete for the same commercial casino license that southeastern Connecticut's Mohegan Tribe is expected to pursue in the town of Palmer.
MGM has a partnership with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe, which branded its second casino as MGM Grand at Foxwoods. The tribe is not involved with any other MGM projects.
MGM plans to develop a three-block parcel in Springfield's South End, The Republican newspaper has reported.
Back in March, when it abandoned plans for the Rolling Hills Resort in Brimfield, MGM said it would seek another casino site in western Massachusetts. In ending the Brimfield effort, company officials said they encountered obstacles to the project's infrastructure needs.
Ameristar Casinos of Las Vegas; Hard Rock International of Orlando, Fla.; and Penn National Gaming of Wyomissing, Pa., have also expressed interest in developing casinos in Springfield. So far, only Ameristar has provided details.
In a meeting this week with city officials, Ameristar outlined its plan for a resort casino it would build on a 41-acre site at Page Boulevard and Interstate 291. Ameristar announced in January that it had purchased the site for $16 million.
Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, which operates Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, holds an option on a 152-acre site in Palmer, where it is negotiating a "host community agreement" with town officials. Under Massachusetts' expanded-gambling law, prospective developers must forge such an agreement before applying for a casino license.
Massachusetts has authorized up to three resort casinos - one each in the western, eastern and southeastern parts of the state. Suffolk Downs has filed a preliminary application for the eastern license while the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has dibs on the southeastern region provided the federal government approves its plan for a tribal casino.